Effective Planning Strategies: Kanban Boards

Kanban 2019 Nov

Kanban at the beginning of the 4th quarter

My time is my time, and I must live my time with as much fullness and significance as I am capable of, because my little segment of time is all the time that I have. – Howard Thurman

This is the first of a series of posts on effective planning strategies. These simple strategies work again and again for me and I hope they help you as well.

Time is a gift of God. Using our time well honors the gift.

A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true. ― Greg Reid

Today, let’s explore Kanban Boards. A Kanban Board is a visual representation of the progress of projects you’re using to achieve your goals.

I use a super-simplified, 90 day Kanban. This means I make a new one four times a year. It feels like a fresh start with each season.

I learned this planning strategy from author Sarra Cannon. For a deeper dive into this strategy, check out her YouTube tutorials here and here.

1. Small post-it notes and a standard poster board from an “everything’s a dollar” type store, or feel free to spend more

2. A pen

3. Paper to make your list of goals, projects, and tasks (see below)

Set 1-3 goals for the next 90 days
On a piece of paper, name each goal. Be specific. Make it measurable if you can. If your goal is very large, you can set a goal within the larger goal.

Make clear goal choices. There will be time for other goals in the next 90 days. This is the season for this. It’s empowering to have boundaries and a plan for healthy work choices.

Ask yourself: Why is this goal important? What do I dream will happen if I achieve this goal? How will my life look different? How will the lives of others look different?

Examples: Payoff $1,500 in debt this quarter. Deepen my prayer life this quarter. Better understand the Holy Spirit by the end of this quarter. Increase the size of my small group by 10 people this quarter.

Choose projects to help you reach your goal
On the same paper, divide each goal into smaller pieces. Choose one or more projects needed to achieve each piece. Once you’ve chosen your projects, decide which ones need to come first, second, etc.

Divide your projects into tasks
On the same paper, list the tasks for each project. Tasks should be small enough to achieve in a week or less. Big goals are met little by little over time.

Assign each task a date if you can, spreading out the tasks over the entire 90 day period. If you know you won’t be working certain days during the 90 days due to holidays, vacation, or other obligations, don’t plan any tasks for that time. Honor your time off.

Color Code
Assign each goal a different sticky note color. (Example: Goal A is blue. Goal B is yellow.) Each task for goal A is then written on its own blue sticky note. Each task for goal B is then written on its own yellow sticky note. You will have many sticky notes.

Arranging Your Kanban Board
Arrange all the sticky notes on the poster board by color. Start with the tasks which will be done towards the end of the 90 days at the top of the board.

Work your way down the poster board, with the tasks you’ll do the soonest placed last. Leave at least a third of the poster board at the bottom with no sticky notes.

Choose a few tasks from each goal to accomplish each week. Move them from their starting place on the poster board to the center of the board. Focus on those tasks only. Other tasks are for other weeks.

When you complete a task, move it from the center of the board to the bottom of the board. This is surprisingly satisfying.

Be careful of continuing to move tasks to the center of the board. For some, any items in the center of the board makes it difficult to sabbath (day of rest.) For others, knowing their next tasks after their sabbath is helpful.

As you complete more and more tasks, you’ll see the sticky notes shifting from the top of the board to the bottom of the board. You can easily see your progress. You can see the movement even when you can’t feel it.⠀⁠

At the end of the 90 days, take a moment to review your board and make plans for the next 90 days.

Kanban 2019 October

Kanban at the end of the 3rd quarter

Psalm 90:12 reminds us to value our time and tend it well. “Teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.” I hope this helps you do just that. I’d love to hear what strategies help you honor God’s gift of time and work?

Effective Planning Strategies: Kanban Boards
© 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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